In honor the 25th (Um..26th. I’ve been taking my sweet time at this) anniversary of the movie Major League, I am attempting to chronicle the events of the movie from the perspective of a sports blogger.
Wild Thing Mania has overtaken Cleveland!
Inexplicably, the Indians have become a good baseball team. Thanks to an absolutely scorching month of July, the Indians have climbed out of the basement, and have reached the dizzying heights of third place in the American League East.
Perhaps even more inexplicable is that for the first time in a long while (ever?), the city of Cleveland actually seems excited by the team. It used to be that the only people who excitedly discussed the Indians were drunk middle-aged men, and they tended to be less than positive with their comments. These days, just about everyone is talking about the Tribe, and for the most part, words like “suck” and “awful” are not being used.
Cleveland has taken a real shine to this cast of misfits, and the most amount of adoration is being heaped upon pitcher Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn. You might remember Vaughn from his memorable debut on Opening Day. Back then, it was difficult to picture him remaining in the major leagues for more than a couple of months. The thought that he could develop into a solid pitcher and fan favorite seemed absurdly implausible.
Apparently, all Vaughn needed was a new pair of eyeglasses. I’m serious; several coaches have gone on record saying that Vaughn’s control was so poor mostly because his eyesight was bad.
This doesn’t exactly ring true. Even if Vaughn couldn’t see the plate, he should have had a general idea of where it was. Many of Vaughn’s pitches were thrown as if he was completely blind.
If the only thing holding him back was his eyesight, how was this not diagnosed earlier? If his eyesight was as bad as they claim, it seems like he shouldn’t have been able to function. He certainly shouldn’t have been allowed to drive. I wonder: Are there a few hit-and-run incidents out there waiting to come to light?
Then again, criminal activities are something that Vaughn is familiar with. Remember that he wasn’t pitching in the minor leagues a year ago. He was in prison for stealing a car. (If the Indians really want to run with the “poor eyesight” thing, maybe they can explain that he just couldn’t see which car was his.)
This leads to another question: Should we be so quick to cheer for a criminal?
The Indians are a feel good story, and have plenty of guys worth rooting for. So why is the most popular player someone who spent time in jail last year? Maybe it wasn’t the most heinous crime ever, and yes, Vaughn served his time, but it strikes me as odd.
It seems obvious that some of the fans are cheering for Vaughn because of how he looks. According to many women, Vaughn is quite pleasing to the eye, and of course some girls can’t help but be attracted to “bad boys.”
Other fans are apparently happy to cheer for Vaughn simply because he comes off like he’s as pissed off as everyone else. After years of watching crappy players on crappy teams, it is a refreshing change of pace to see one of the players actually seem upset by it.
Or maybe Indians fans are so desperate for a good team that we’ll just cheer for anyone who looks capable of bringing us one.
I’d better stop or else people are going to accuse me of being a wet blanket. I’m going to get complaints that I’m only happy when the Indians are losing. (If that was true, I’d have spent the majority of my life feeling happy about the Indians, and that is certainly not the case.)
Then again, maybe they have a point. The Indians are finally playing well, and the first thing I do is find a reason to complain. I think I’d better switch into positivity mode.
Let’s all sing it together: “Wild Thing! You make my heart sing!”
Ah. Much better.